General Chat

 

Morning Flight for the Mac?

 

Posted: 25 Feb 2006 09:53 am

 

That's a question we're asked regularly, and the answer is . . . it depends! Now that Apple is switching from Motorola to Intel chips, will Macs running Windows apps be just around the corner? My guess is, probably not. It will happen, but I don't think it will happen soon enough.

That's the part that depends - mainly on whether Bill Gates and Steve Jobs can agree on having two different Windows versions, one from Microsoft for the PC, the other from Apple for the Mac. Both would run the same applications, but those applications wouldn't have the same look and feel.

The Mac OS has always been more cool and (my grandson will roll his eyes if he reads this) "sexier" then MS Windows. That's what makes a Mac a Mac. Contrary to what Apple diehards will tell you, Macs aren't faster or more powerful than PCs, or the company wouldn't be switching chips. Nor are they easier to use. That may have been true earlier, but not today. And certainly not when Vista debuts later this year.

So, will Morning Flight ever run on Macs? Yes, if Bill Gates allows Steve Jobs to stay a step or two ahead in the "cool" department. No, if we have to port MF to the Mac OS. That would be a huge undertaking and our resources are better spent somewhere else.

It probably shouldn't even be an issue. Say you own a small shop and you're using a single computer and that computer likely happens to be a Mac, can you really afford to have Estimating interfere with your Desktop Publishing? Morning Flight will run on any PC, even a $250 close-out special, as long as that PC comes with Windows. Besides, think of the access it will give you to all those other Windows apps that simply aren't available for the Mac.
. . . . .  Hal Heindel

 

Following up on my previous post of February 2006, we're expecting delivery next week of a new Intel-based MacBook with "Parallels Desktop for Mac." The $79.99 utility is claimed to be the first solution that allows Windows applications to run alongside Mac OS X in a secure, isolated virtual machine. In other words, no need to shut down Mac OS X and wait for a full OS start-up cycle.

As soon as we get it, we'll load Windows and Morning Flight. If it works as advertised, I can't wait to walk into a local print shop with a Mac laptop under my arm and demo the program. If it doesn't, anyone need a slightly used MacBook? Stay tuned.
. . . . .  Hal Heindel

 

The results are in - we're keeping the MacBook! Installing "Parallels Desktop for Mac" and Windows XP in an Intel-equipped Mac was painless and took all of 10 minutes. We then downloaded the Silver Edition from our web site and installed it in the Windows VM, clicked one button to expand to full-screen mode, and there it was, Morning Flight running on a MacIntosh. Flawlessly! Except you couldn't tell it was running on a Mac, because the screens looked just like what we're used to seeing on our PCs.

Ok, so the combination works. Now for a reality check: The experiment cost us $1,094.00 for the cheapest Apple MacBook (13" screen and 512 MB of RAM). Because we ordered it from www.macconnection.com in September, there was a $50.00 rebate, and "Parallels Desktop" and a carrying case were included at no charge. We then had to shell out $87.99 for an OEM version of Windows XP Home Edition from www.newegg.com. Total outlay - $1,131.99 plus shipping, and we now get to fill out three separate rebate forms.

What if you already own an Intel-Mac, or are planning to buy one? It will still cost you $79.99 for Parallels from www.bestbuy.com and either $199.99 for the full Windows XP Home Edition, or $87.99 for the OEM version.

Of course, you could wait for Boot Camp. Available as a feature in the upcoming Mac OS X version 10.5 named Leopard, Boot Camp also lets you run Windows software, but you'll have to decide on startup whether to choose the Mac OS or Windows. Parallels lets you switch back and forth at runtime. Either way, you still need to buy Windows XP.

The choice comes down to return on investment. If you're replacing your Mac with an Intel-based model, consider Parallels. Otherwise, $449.00 will get you a www.dell.com Dimension B110 Desktop PC with 512 MB RAM, 160 GB hard drive, DVD burner, 15" Flat Panel Display, AND Windows XP Home. You can do your Morning Flight quotes on it, and your bookkeeping. After hours, you'll now have access to hundreds of other PC programs that simply aren't available for the MacIntosh. And you'll never have to interrupt your Mac-based Desktop Publishing.

Me? I'm taking the MacBook on the road this week for some local demos. That $1,131.99 will have to buy bragging rights, if not much else!

. . . . .  Hal Heindel